I like your writings very much! We are in agreement on most points...
Likewise Bruce. I enjoy reading your posts as well. :)
Bruce said: ...but I would like you to consider the following:
"You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood YOU PURCHASED MEN FOR GOD from every tribe and language and people and nation. YOU HAVE MADE THEM TO BE A KINGDOM AND PRIESTS TO SERVE OUR GOD, and they will reign on the earth." (future tense)
I believe this to be the (future tense) description of 'The Church', BEFORE THE RAPTURE, purchased with the blood of Christ to be FUTURE priests to serve God and reign with Him for the one-thousand-year kingdom on earth.
It is not just the Church being mentioned here. In fact, the following verse says that all who participate in the "first resurrection", that is to life, will be priests during the Millennium. That would include all Saints from the beginning of time, not just the Church.
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.There are other reasons I give in the following that support the Church being represented among the elders:
I should also point out that I believe that Revelation is chronological, other than two clear interludes that take us back in time to tell us more about the main story (Revelation 12-13 and 17-18). Note that these interludes end up back in sequence of where we left off in the order of events . I have a chart in the following link that illustrates the chronological order of Revelation (I do list four interludes, but two of them actually are in order and don't go back in time. To be honest, I'm not sure why I did this. I will revise the chart when I start writing the commentary to have only the two interludes):
Putting the raptured Church after the sealing of the 144,000 clearly violates the chronological flow. I also believe that it is important to note the dispensation change that takes place when Jesus takes the Sealed scroll as I discuss blow. This helps to support that the Church will be standing before the throne before the Seals are broken:
Bruce said: I also believe the following to be the (present tense) description of 'The Church', AFTER THE RAPTURE, similarly described:
Revelation 7:9 and 7:15 and 7:14
"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count from every NATION , TRIBE, PEOPLE and LANGUAGE, standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb."
"Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple." (present tense)
"These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
The preceeding Scriptures describe 'The Church' both 'before and after' the rapture.
There are three items that have me convinced that the multitude described in Revelation 7 are strictly Tribulation Saints:
1. The context shows that the saved multitude are a direct result of the work of the 144,000. We also find the rapture of the 144,000 right before the completion of the harvest of souls in Revelation 14, which supports the notion that the saved souls are the result of the work of the 144,000.
2. The Greek word for "come out" shows that people are still arriving on the scene, which is different from the Church being gathered together in one event. The following explanation is from my pastor who knows Hebrew:
the ones who come out
ἐρχόμενοι [erchomenoi] , present participle. They are continually coming out— probably the result of ongoing persecution resulting in martyrdom, although the text does not explicitly indicate martyrdom. “Present middle participle with the idea of continued repetition. ‘The martyrs are still arriving from the scene of the great tribulation.’
3. The description of these folks coming out of great tribulation better describes the Tribulation martyrs having gone through famine (Rev 6:8), lack of water (Rev 8:8-11, 16:3-7) and the scorching sun (Rev 8:7, 16:8-9)
Revelation 7:16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat
Amy Van Gerpen